1963 Corvette built for Harley EarlEnlarge Photo
Now is a great time to buy a cool classic car. With the economy being soft, prices for many cars haven't been this low in years. But cars trade hands in good times and bad.
If you happen to have a chuck of cash laying around, you might want to consider hitting the Mecum Bloomington Gold Corvette Auction, June 26-27, 2009, in St. Charles, Ill. There you'll find some great deals on classics, exotics, customs, and just plain old cars. Dana Mecum told us that top-echelon cars are maintaining their values, so don't expect to steal the feature of this year's Bloomington Gold event, a unique 1963 Harley Earl Chevrolet Corvette Convertible.
Mecum said "The Harley Earl Corvette is a one-of-a-kind factory special whose creation, discovery and restoration have the kind of uniquely storied history that epitomizes the classic car industry." As the dean of Detroit stylists in the late 1920s, Harley Earl was responsible for the conception behind America's sports car during his career at General Motors. When Earl oversaw the display of his Buick Le Sabre show car at the Watkins Glen races in 1951, he resolved to design a new sports car for the American market, and that vision evolved into the 1953 Corvette.
In '63, GM honored Earl with a custom-built Corvette Sting Ray - one that closely resembled the Corvette show car built for that year's Chicago Auto Show. After two years, Earl sold the car to a retired Maryland Army veteran. The car resurfaced a decade later, eventually showing up at the Corvettes at Carlisle meet. In 1981, middle school teacher and Corvette enthusiast Joe Clark bought the car from the group of amateur racers who owned it and began researching its history.
Clark discovered a hand-written number code inside a door trim panel - Shop Order (S.O.) 10323 - and learned the Earl Corvette began as a fuel-injection-equipped Red four-speed convertible built after the Chicago show car was completed. Special glovebox-mounted instruments found in Earl's car were originally intended for the Chicago show car but hadn't been completed in time. Today, the Earl Corvette still has its distinct side-exit exhausts that sprout from behind the front wheel wells and has been restored to feature its original medium Blue custom leather interiors with White seat trim and Metallic Blue exterior with White trim. A 1963-dated 327/300 HP engine is under the hood, while its chrome trim, exterior emblems, interior control knobs and four-wheel disc brakes are all 1965 parts.
If you're interested, the showcase Harley Earl Corvette (Lot S100) will be sold Saturday, June 27, 2009, at 3:25 p.m.